Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has signed legislation that will allow foreign insurers to sell life insurance and annuity contracts from Florida to non-U.S. residents.[@@]

The legislation, which Bush signed Wednesday, will take effect July 1.

An attorney with a law firm that spearheaded a campaign to pass the law said its passage will be a boon to international insurance sales in the state.

The legislation could create “thousands of new, high-paying jobs in Florida while elevating Florida’s stature as an international insurance center,” says Bowman Brown, senior partner with Shutts & Bowen L.L.C., Miami.

Brown says the law will make it easier for offshore insurance companies to do business in Florida with foreigners residing in the state. Brown says he initiated the idea of the legislation as head of the Beacon Council Financial Services Task Force, an economic development agency.

The law eliminates a requirement that foreign insurers be certified by state regulators to sell life insurance and annuity contracts to non-U.S. residents.

The Beacon Council estimates the law could generate up to $2.7 billion in activity per year if insurers handle the policy administration work in Florida.